A pack of cigarettes comes with a warning from the surgeon general. The van from Eastern Connecticut’s Women’s Center provides, as advertised, pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. However, there is no warning on the van that it is funded and sent by anti-choice organizations. We stand outside the van with signs and flyers to provide the disclaimer that Students For Life and Caring Families Corporation refuses to include with their services.The van that appears on campus monthly is funded by Caring Families CT, a pro-life group that runs various anti-abortion programs throughout the state. The organization runs the Women’s Center of Eastern Connecticut, a fake pregnancy center that misleads pregnant people in order to keep them from seeking abortions. Caring Families themselves are funded byCare Net, a nationwide pro-life group that runs over 1,100 fake pregnancy centers around North America.Several of our members have, in fact, had the displeasure of interacting at length with the employees of the van and members of Students For Life. During the October 25th protest,two of our members argued for over an hour with one of the van employees, and received two pieces of the van’s literature, including a pamphlet that falsely painted abortion as a dangerous procedure. The same member had a conversation with two members of students for life, one of which was actually the author of a clumsy op-ed defending the van that was recently printed in the Daily Campus. The same employees and club members that we interacted with extensively then complained, only hours later, that our members refused to engage. Frankly, this kind of deception is unsuprising from an organization that will lie about the dangers of abortion, conceal their true motives, and create thousands of clinics attempting to steal patients from comprehensive healthcare providers.This organization targets a vulnerable demographic, low income people who may be pregnant, and does not disclose, unless pushed, that they are a pro-life organization. They do not disclose, unless pushed, that during their “options counseling” they try to talk people out of getting abortions, do not inform people that they have a legal right to an abortion, and refuse to tell them where they can get an abortion if the patient desires one. The information they provide about abortion procedures are cherry-picked or fully falsified information about how the procedure is dangerous. During a conversation with the employee of the van, she actually told us that Planned Parenthood forces or pressures people into abortions and does not provide other options. Whether she believes this to be true or is purposefully misleading people, this is dangerous and false information. Students are busy and stressed, and if pregnant they could be afraid and desperate for options. They may not know or have the time to deeply question the employees or research the Women’s Center of Eastern Connecticut or Caring Families. That is why YDSA, with other organizations, stands outside the van. We have information verified by reputable comprehensive healthcare providers. We are here to provide information, so that students can make their choices without deception.We agree that there is a void in access to reproductive health on campus, but rather than interacting with a anti-choice organization, we are in the process of organizing a ride-share program to Planned Parenthood. A choice based on misinformation is not a choice, no matter what Cade Buckheit tells you. Students can use the van if they choose, we can not and will not stop them. We have not even attempted to get the van barred from campus, despite the risk to public health they pose. Instead, we simply provide students with information so they can make
a fully informed decision about where to seek care. We encourage students to engage with Students For Life and the employees and see what they have to say. By all means, question them, receive their services, and take their free stuff. Anyone with any questions should visit exposecpcsct.org. Or, if deceptive Crisis Pregnancy Centers make you angry too, join us on December 6th from 1-5, standing outside the van on Fairfield Way to provide a disclaimer.